HSC artworks shortlisted for annual exhibition
GRACE Thorley and Ruby Sullivan were ecstatic when they discovered they'd been nominated for the annual ArtExpress exhibition, which showcases a selection of the most outstanding student HSC artworks.
The two McAuley Catholic College Year 12 students had spent most of the year working long hours to make sure their artworks were the best they could be.
"I was so, so excited," Grace recalled when she found out about her nomination.
"I was screaming when I saw it on the computer, I honestly didn't think I had the chance.
"All those late nights and drinking all that tea at 12 o'clock, 1 o'clock in the morning really paid off, it's the best feeling."
Ruby added that she'd been incredibly excited about the opportunity too.
"I was really surprised because there are so many students in the state," she said.
Ruby's artwork, Look My Way, centred around Australia's first inhabitance and the history of Australia.
"It just shined the light on what had happened in the past, like the stolen generation and the referendum," she said.
Throughout school, Ruby said she learnt so much about Australia's history that really impacted her.
"I've just been shocked about what has happened," she said.
For Grace, there was a single moment in her life that changed everything.
"My grandmother had an accident after my 16th birthday and that really changed my life and it brought me to realise that I should really enjoy life and don't worry about the bad things, and that's where I found my passion for art," she said.
It was this experience, coupled with her experiences with bullying when she was younger, that really inspired her HSC artwork A State of Grace.
"It's about my journey through school, the challenges I endured, it's a bit chaotic," Grace said.
The whole process of creating A State of Grace was a way to let go of some of the more difficult things in her past.
"I was letting it all out, it was my final goodbye to all of these memories and bringing in this new aspect of life and my passion for art," she said.
Now it's all about waiting for the 18-year-old.
"We're a bit nervous now, waiting to see if they get in," she said.
Grace has applied to university to study a fine arts degree so she can pursue a career as a professional artist and Ruby is heading to Ireland to work as an au pair for the next 12 months.